Who Can Help Me Buy A House?Now we know. The term "Realtor" is a protected trademark of the National Association of Realtors.
You simply can't write it anymore without an R inside a circle or (R) [parenthesis]. Or something like that.
Attorney Dave Barry filed suit to challenge the NAR's use of the term "Realtor." Apparently, it also had something to do with ownership and sale of the realtor.com website. Go figure. Someone wanted money.
In any event, the Trademark, Trials and Appeals Board thought the term was trademarked by the NAR. The argument was over whether the term "Realtor" was generic or unique. Apparently, unique won out.
I guess "real estate agent" is still available for those of you who are looking for help buying a house.
Understanding the Big BlackoutWhere were you when the lights went out? If you want to read the report, it's just a click away. There are 10 chapters and appendices, but it's an interesting read.
Who's fault was the week-long blackout?
Mainly, it appears that too many people who run the electrical system did not understand it. Plus, they didn't trim trees.
It always comes down to the little things.
Forget Buying Bridges, How About an Ocean?A real estate hustle? How about buying some ocean?
I don't know if you'd call it oceanfront or under the ocean, but the next big bid for land by environmentalists is buying up the ocean to protect it. Check out the newest California fad - SB1318 and SB1319.
Fishermen are upset. They think their livelihood and recreation will be taken away.
Otherwise, I know this bridge in Arizona that's for sale.
How Long To Clean Air?Don't expect it to let up soon. The USEPA announced that stricter clean air regulations will likely stay in effect for another 10-15 years.
The two major sources of pollution to clean up the air: nitrogen oxide and sulfur releases from power plants and diesel fuel and large truck engines.
If past experience is any indicator, we can look probably think in terms of another 30 years, possibly 45.
April Fool's DayDid you get fooled today or did you do the fooling?
I Play More Notes Than You DoSo, you're a violinist in a German orchestra, and you play more notes than everyone else.
Of course, the rest of us understand this because we listen attentively to the music. NOT.
So, what do you do?
You go on strike for more money. Of course. Why didn't I think of that? I mean, I type more characters than the average lawyer. I publish everyday.
Presumably, you do something more than everyone else, right?
I'll leave that one alone.
Two-timing, Conspiring, Murderous Wife GuiltyTo follow up an earlier story about a love triangle, mistaken identity murder, the final verdict is in.
Lee Ann Reidel is guilty. So is the hit man, her boyfriend.
She was married but having an affair (and a child) with the hit man. The hit man mistakenly killed her husband's partner, intending to kill the husband.
They were convicted on the testimony of an accomplice, a drug-addicted, strip-club bouncer, who saw her give a picture of her husband to the hit man/boyfriend and say, "I want him f------ dead."
Both now face life in prison.
Read My Lips - No New TaxesAs most of the rest of the country knows, we here on the left coast are fond of propositions. How many there are, I don't know, but they crop up like spring weeds at every election. One of the more famous ones is Prop 13 that limited the government's ability to raise property taxes to two percent per year.
Needless to say, there have been a number of court challenges, and it was eventually upheld. By the U.S. Supreme Court against the Los Angeles County Tax Assessor, Kenneth Hahn. I have no idea why they named a park after him. He lost the case.
But let's get back to why we're here. Enough with the history lesson. Our own local Court of Appeal gave us this little gem last week.
Presiding Justice Sills clarified how Prop 13 works.
The Assessor loses another one. Homeowner Renee Bezaire duked it out over the way the County tried to get around Prop 13. In 1995, our heroine bought a house in Seal Beach for $330,000. By 1998, the property did not gain any value, and the county once again enrolled the value at $330,000. Next year, the value was assessed at $343,332, a four percent increase, which the County wanted to tax. She argued that she deserved a tax refund because Prop 13 limits a property tax increase to two percent over the previous year.
Our local appeals court ruled that the inflation cap must apply to the original purchase price, rather than the previous year's reassessed value. So, no more trying to get around Prop 13 by reassessing the property value.